Saturday 15 December 2018

Heart attack death rates much higher in some hospitals

Dr Tony Holohan Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Dr Tony Holohan Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

A number of hospitals have significantly higher death rates due to heart attacks and strokes than the national average, according to a new report from the Department of Health.

Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe, Co Galway, has the highest death rate from heart attack within 30 days of admission, at 8.71 per 100 cases over 2015-2017.

Other hospitals with high mortality include St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin at 8.53 per 100 cases. It is also high in Cavan General Hospital, Bantry General Hospital, Waterford Regional Hospital and Kerry General Hospital. The national average, according to the statistics which are age and sex standardised, was 5.58 per 100 cases.

The figures, in the annual report of the National Healthcare Quality Reporting System, are the nearest the health service has to a league table, although various factors can influence the figures, including the patient's overall state of health and how fast they were admitted after the onset of symptoms.

The death rate for patients from the most common form of stroke - known as ischaemic stroke - within 30 days after admission was highest in University Hospital Kerry, where it was 12.81 per 100 cases.

The rates were also high in Our Lady's Hospital, Navan, and Portlaoise Hospital. The national average is 8.54 per 100 cases.

Commenting on the report, which provides national and international comparisons in key areas, the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan (inset) said: "Mortality rates for heart attack have decreased by 42pc over the last 10 years.

"Our cancer survival rates for breast and colorectal cancer compare favourably against other OECD countries and rates of MRSA have fallen by 66pc since 2006."

It comes as a top health official said yesterday the winter trolley crisis in the country's hospitals means surgery for waiting list patients is being "crowded out".

It means waiting list patients are losing out and enduring longer delays because of a lack of beds.

HSE head of acute hospitals Liam Woods said: "Notwithstanding the extraordinary measures taken over the winter period to manage emergency activity, there is evidence to suggest that access to elective care is being crowded out."

He told the Oireachtas health committee that 78,014 patients are waiting for access for a surgical procedure.

Another 511,000 are waiting for an outpatient appointment.

Referring to the trolley crisis, he said: "The HSE has continued to focus on full compliance of no patient waiting over 24 hours.

"A key challenge for most hospitals is the lack of sufficient isolation facilities or single rooms required to ensure that infection control issues are managed appropriately."

Irish Independent

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